25 April 2012

Italian Liberation Day

April 25 is a national holiday in Italy. 

In my day-to-day business, all I have heard this week is "Mercoledì è festa" (Wednesday is a holiday) and who is going where on vacation. But does anyone ever think of what this date means to their lives? Probably not.

25 April 1945, was the day the people of Italy were liberated from their Nazi occupation and it forever changed the course of their lives. In La Spezia, there is a very rich history of WWII stories, as it was the main naval base for northern Italy. L'Aresenale was not only a large Mediterranean port, it also housed the Italian ammunition bunkers, a large ship repair port and it was the seat of the German occupation for the area.

18 April 2012

The Best Whipped Cream Ever!

Sometimes the best discoveries are made when you have to use something up before it expires. This was the case with a tub of mascarpone cheese the other day. It was the beginning of yet another long Sunday lunch with the family and my mother-in-law didn't know what she should do with the huge tub of cheese. 

If you are not familiar with mascarpone cheese, it is has the consistency of cream cheese but a mild,  a buttery taste. Mascarpone is the main ingredient in Tiramisù, which gives it the delightfully creamy texture. It is thoroughly versatile in the kitchen as it can be used to make sauces thicker and creamier, it can be used for savoury dips, dessert frosting (I make an orange frosting for spice cake with it), scone recipes and numerous other desserts. It can even be served plain with fruit. It's possibilities are endless.

09 April 2012

Wild Asparagus!

I am a huge fan/supporter of harvesting wild food. You can see my Wild Caper and Chestnut posts as proof. Food just tastes better when it grows wild and going for a hike or hunt to find it makes it an fun adventure. Last year, when reading about Kate Little's adventures in the woods above Levanto to find wild asparagus, I was delighted at the idea of finding asparagus and determined to discover these skinny, hidden jewels myself.

Come March, during a celebration of our friends' bar opening (see Bar dell'Amore) in the Cinque Terre, a friend from Riomaggiore told me that he was making asparagus risotto from a bunch of wild asparagus he gathered that morning. I got excited and asked him where I could find some, to which he told me that it grows all over the hills of the Cinque Terre and I could even find it above the bar.  Fortunately, another friend from Vernazza pointed out that all of the Cinque Terre is a protected reserve and I could get a huge fine for taking any kind of plant. After much discussion about what could be said to the cops and how I could pretend to be a tourist that didn't know any better, I decided it was best to just look for it elsewhere!

03 April 2012

Fun Easter Treats

Easter is just around the corner and I thought I would post the super fun Krispy treats I made last year. I was instantly inspired when I saw the quick flashes of Rice Krispy treats shaped like eggs while my sister was forwarding past commercials on her DVR. "Oh my God!" I gasped, "GO BACK! It's Rice Krispy treats shaped into eggs and filled with M&Ms!" I am still amazed at how quickly my brain grabbed the whizzing images that flashed before my eyes and put them together to understand what it was. Why can't my brain work that well under normal circumstances, like when I walk into a room and forget why...but I digress.

Anyway, sugary sweets are not something I normally eat, but when inspiration hits, I must surrender to its power. Plus, I had never actually made Rice Krispy treats myself, and I always love new experiences. Turns out, they are super easy--a little time consuming with stuffing the eggs, but super easy. Making these 'treats' are fun for the whole family and I highly recommend these surprise 'eggs' as a creative way to make (and eat) them. So here is what you need:

Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

Past Posts

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